Australia’s Day of Shame

Lukas Coch/AFP/Getty Images

Australia’s Day of Shame

A shameful rabble disrupts celebrations on Australia’s national day.

On Thursday I had my Aussie flag out on display—the real one with the Union Jack in the upper left corner and the Southern Cross spread across its royal blue background.

The evening before, I was on the phone speaking to one of Australia’s top musicians, and he chuckled to himself as he watched his wife going to the entrance of his property proudly waving an Aussie flag as she greeted guests arriving at their Sydney harborside residence to join with them in celebrating Australia’s national day. I could see in my mind’s eye the harbor waters glistening in the sun, skirting the city of my birth. It sounded like it was going to be a great day Down Under.

The following morning brought sad images from Canberra of the nation’s prime minister and leader of its opposition party being hustled away to safety amid jeers from an unruly and most disreputable rabble. These images had been quickly beamed around the world, highlighting the shame of such an incident happening in civilized society. It was a significant blot on Australia’s national day.

The Herald Sun reported: “In extraordinary scenes yesterday a visibly frightened prime minister was swept off her feet by security and lost a shoe as she was bundled into a car and whisked away from a ceremony at a Canberra restaurant for national emergency medal winners” (January 27).

Certain Aboriginal dissidents, and their hangers-on, protest annually each Australia Day at what they maintain was the taking of their land from the Aboriginal people at the time that Britain settled and colonized Australia. Ostensibly, they were using the occasion this year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a so-called “tent embassy” that has been a blot on the Canberra landscape since 1972.

In another report on the shameful incident, the Herald Sun stated, “The irrational nature of their conduct was captured in a single quote from tent embassy founder Michael Anderson yesterday: ‘To hell with the government and the courts.’

“That would be the same government that formally apologized to the stolen generations in 2008. The same courts that in 1992 overturned the racist fiction that upon its European discovery, Australia was terra nullius—unoccupied land—and enabled long-overdue native title rights” (January 27).

If ever there was an argument against the appeasement of loud-voiced dissident minorities in a civilized society, then Anderson’s stance tells it all.

One high-profile Aboriginal citizen, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda, condemned the protesters, declaring that he was “appalled at the level of disrespect and aggression” shown (abc News, January 27). He added: “An aggressive, divisive and frightening protest such as this has no place in debates about the affairs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples or in any circumstances.”

Another influential Australian of Aboriginal heritage, former Australian Labor Party President Warren Mundine, was reported as calling the activists a “disgrace,” saying that “the embassy had long ceased to be relevant for most Aborigines and had been ‘hijacked by a motley crew of people’ from outside the indigenous mainstream’” (Australian, January 27).

To me, it’s always been a sad commentary on those free societies established by the British peoples, which have given so much of value to nations such as Australia, that small groups of aboriginal dissidents have sought—often under the influence of liberal white lawyers who stood to gain much in fees through resultant litigation—to denigrate their benefactors who established a civilization of worth in formerly uncivilized lands.

Such dissidents are generally self-seeking offspring of a small element of an entitlement subculture. They often live off the hand of the state they condemn, supported by the hard-earned taxes of upright citizenry, are bone lazy, feckless, with no real goals in life other than to spout hatred for the system that freely gives them the benefits they live off and for those of both their own and another skin color that may be real achievers in society.

I have personally known and worked with some fine people of Australian Aboriginal heritage. I have also crossed paths and swords, so to speak, with a handful of dissidents, and felt their hatred, including threats to my own welfare. That is not a pleasant thing to tolerate. I can understand the reaction of Australia’s prime minister and her protectors when the mood got ugly at the Lobby Restaurant in Canberra.

Perhaps it’s a good thing that visions of the shameful behavior of the minority rabble in Canberra were beamed far and wide. At least the culprits of Australia’s day of shame were clearly evident.

Warren Mundine said it all in his clearly worded statement: “No human being, let alone the prime minister of this country, should be treated in such a manner.”

Amen to that.